In the third century, when it seemed that the whole world had adopted the Arian heresy, one man, a bishop, defended, even unto exile, the true faith. So vigorous was his defense of the truth and so widespread was this heresy, that he became known as Athanasius Contra Mundum, Athanasius against the world.
I argue that we are in another great crisis in the Church, this time not against a single heresy, but against the synthesis of all heresies, Modernism.
And lo, in this time of great need, God sees fit to send another bishop to courageously defend the truth against all error. And once again, his name is Athanasius.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan has been on a tour of the U.K. On his tour, he has had the following to say about the current crisis in the Church. [Quotes and excerpts from the Catholic Herald]
“I would say, we are in the fourth great crisis [of the Church], in a tremendous confusion over doctrine and liturgy. We have already been in this for 50 years.”
How long will it last? “Perhaps God will be merciful to us in 20 or 30 years.”
“I think this issue of the reception of Holy Communion by the remarried will blow up and show the real crisis in the Church. The real crisis of the Church is anthropocentrism and the forgetting of Christo-centrism…
“This is the deepest evil: man, or the clergy, putting themselves in the centre when they are celebrating liturgy and when they change the revealed truth of God, for instance, concerning the Sixth Commandment and human sexuality.”
Although he says talk of change is mainly coming from “the anti-Christian media”, he sees clergy and lay Catholics “collaborating” with what he calls the new paganism. Bishop Schneider is particularly critical of the idea that these changes should be made so as to be merciful to those currently barred from receiving the Sacraments. “[This is] a kind of sophism,” he said. “This is not mercy, this is cruel.”
He suggested this was “a false concept of mercy”, saying: “It is comparable to a doctor who gives a [diabetic] patient sugar, although he knows it will kill him.”
“We [Christians] are a minority. We are surrounded by a very cruel pagan world. The temptation and challenge of today can be compared with the first centuries.”
He added: “Unfortunately there were … members of the clergy and even bishops who put grains of incense in front of the statue of the emperor or of a pagan idol or who delivered the books of the Holy Scripture to be burned. Such collaborationist Christians and clerics were called in those times thurificati or traditores.”
And today, he maintained, we also have those who collaborate, our “traitors of the Faith”.
Such critics may assert that Bishop Schneider’s concern over Holy Communion is like worrying over the numbers of angels on a pinhead. But the bishop insists that treatment of the Eucharist is at the very heart of the crisis. “The Eucharist is at the heart of the Church,” he said. “When the heart is weak, the whole body is weak.”
He argued that receiving Communion in hand “contributes gradually to the loss of the Catholic faith in the Real Presence and in transubstantiation”.
Thanks be to God that we have bishops like Athanasius.